From skeptic to fanatic: how Red Light unexpectedly saved my skin

From skeptic to fanatic: how Red Light unexpectedly saved my skin

If you’ve been around this community for some time, you’ve probably noticed that I have a somewhat silly obsession with the quality of my skin. I want to be youthful, radiant, dewey–and to do so forever. I know it’s ridiculous, and my self esteem doesn’t depend on it. But I would enjoy the look. For better or for worse, I would like to look as springy and vibrant as I feel.

 

About two months ago I stumbled onto this skin- and muscle- healing concept called red light therapy. Now, I’m really, really, REALLY skeptical about new age sounding therapies. “Red light therapy?!” I snorted violently. I may as well wear a crystal around my neck and call it a day. I almost dismissed the idea out of hand.

 

But, there were all these success stories staring me in the face, so I decided to do some research.

 

As it turns out, red light therapy is legit science. It was first discovered on a NASA spacecraft out in orbit, when light in the red  wavelength area of the spectrum stimulated plants to grow faster. (It has also since been shown to target  and kill cancer cells.) Dermatologists thought this idea was fascinating, and wondered if these kinds of regenerative growth processes could work in the skin, too.

 

And they do. Somewhat miraculously, even. Within years of the discovery of red light in space, salons providing red light therapy popped up around the western world. Some women spend hundreds of dollars a month to go to salons with red light beds. It is also now possible to purchase a device and use it in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, these devices range from the scammy to the ineffective to the monstrously expensive.

 

I was therefore incredibly fortunate to stumble upon a company called Joovv. Joovv is a red light therapy company created by the wife and husband team of Melissa and Justin Strahan. Melissa first tried red light therapy at a salon, back when it was first emerging onto markets. She saw somewhat miraculous results on the quality of her skin and her stretch marks, and she fell in love with it. But going to the salon was expensive and inconvenient.

 

Justin, Melissa’s husband, is an engineer. He undertook the task of designing the most efficient and effective red light for Melissa that he could. Now with patents pending, the Joovv company services an enormous number of people with extraordinary customer service and care. If you go to their website, here: Joovv, you’ll see that they have more than 50 five star reviews, and are supported by people like the paleo fitness star Ben Greenfield and the Harvard doctor who specializes in photobiomodulation Michael Hamblin.
 

 

Joovv, amazingly, has a 60 day money back guarantee. So I figured I had nothing to lose. I ordered a light. They shipped it to the UK and it arrived in two days. After about three weeks of using the light for 5 minutes every day, I began to understand what everyone was raving about.

 

Do you know that particular dewey, radiant, sort of soft and sparkly kind of skin that magazine models always seem to have? And you think, wondering – that must be photoshopped. And it certainly is. But then every once in a while you make an acquaintance who has skin like that in real life, and you wonder, oh my, how does she manage that?!

 

Well. I always wondered that. I always thought, man, that would be the dream. And, I also always really hoped that I wouldn’t age like the other woman in my family did. That is, very early, and very wrinkly. I didn’t need smooth skin to be happy, not by any means, but I thought it would be nice.

 

And I can say now with 100% honesty I actually have this kind of skin. I didn’t think it would ever happen, but here I am, it really did. There’s a particular smoothness and glow about my face that never existed before. So much so that light reflects off of it (lol). And my pores, I think, are smaller. The chronic redness I carried on my cheeks for as long as I can remember is gone. Last week I ran into an old acquaintance and they said ‘wow, you look really refreshed. like you’re really well slept, and golden.’ These were all real words that they used, and I promise you I was not well slept. The fine lines that have recently appeared as crows feet, I am a bit amazed to share, have also softened. On my right eyes they have disappeared. they’re still hanging out on the left eye, but I’m all right with that. I’m only about five weeks into the therapy, and already super happy with the overall results (I intend to keep you posted about it, and if my experience turns south, I will definitely let you know). I have zero desire to cash in on the money back guarantee. In fact, I’ve considered paying Joovv more money simply to say thanks.

 

Here is the science behind what’s transforming my skin:

 

1) Red light therapy stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is responsible for firmness and elasticity, which is what causes the reduction of pore size, as well as fine lines and wrinkles. I’ve read that this can take a bit longer than the other effects to show, so I will keep you posted on any progress in this regard.

 

2) Red light therapy  increases circulation and the formation of new capillaries in the skin. This delivers more oxygen and other nutrients to your skin, which helps it rejuvenate itself. this may have something to do with my transition from a somewhat irritated red to healthy gold/pink glow I’ve got going on.

 

3) Red light therapy increases lymph system activity, which reduces swelling and puffiness.

 

4) Red light therapy causes the release of cellular ATP in the skin–which is the form of energy cells need to stimulate growth and repair.

 

All in all, I’ve been super happy with these results. I am not trying to sell you anything. But I do think this information is fascinating and important. Whenever I notice science doing something cool for my body, I feel compelled to share. If you’re into this sort of thing, science may be able to do a cool thing for your body, too. Red light therapy is known to reduce stretch marks (I have yet to shine the light on my inner thighs, but will let you know when I do), reduce certain kinds of acne, heal sunspots and other discolorations, even out skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and create a more healthy glow. This is because it actually does heal the skin, in a way that is deep and real.

 

If, again, you happen to be into this sort of thing, I couldn’t recommend Joovv more highly. They make a full face machine which is great; most red lights you’ll find online are tiny spot healers that can only do a couple inches of skin at a time. Joovv’s customer service is outstanding, and their dedication to crafting machines that make the perfect wavelength and intensity of light (very important for its effectiveness) is unparalleled. Most of all I love their money back guarantee. They could lose a ton of money this way, by shipping people their fragile lights all over the world with the possibility of having them all returned. But I am willing to bet this turns out great for the company. If other people have a similar experience to me–even starting out as a raging skeptic–they’re not going to want to return their lights, either.

 

Here are some photos of my skin. It’s hard to be accurate because cameras tend to be really forgiving anyway, so there’s less contrast between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ than in real life. Interestingly, today instead of being grateful for the camera’s typically glossing-over features, I am regretful that it hides the dynamic shine to my skin.

 

Here is a ‘before’:

 

 

 

Here is after 3 weeks:

 

 

 

Here is after 5 weeks:

 

 

 

 

Again, it’s really hard to show the contrast. What I’m seeing most of right now is a reduction in redness, a smoothness I’ve never experienced before, and this kind of healthy, glowy quality I’ve always wanted. Plus a little bit of progress with the fine lines.

 

Here I am with the cool light:

 

 

 

 So, that’s a wrap! Just wanted to fill you in on a cool experiment I’m up to. Do let me know your thoughts if you’ve got em!

 

 

PSA! If you click on one of the links above or this one, you might wonder if it’s an affiliate link. That is, does Stefani earn any money from talking about Joovv? Well, yes. I might if people purchase red lights after reading this post. A very small amount. But I signed up to be an affiliate for Joovv only after testing it for five weeks; I was fully ready to send my red light back and say ‘no thank you.’ As with all the other affiliate links on this site that I vet with my own experience, I use them only to keep the PfW team afloat while I labor away in the basements of the Oxford University library system. Of course, by using a link like this, you personally never have to pay more; the company simply shares some of their profits with me, as a way of saying thanks for sharing the good word. As ever, I am never, ever dishonest with you, and never share a product or talk about one at great depth unless it means a lot to me. No pressure at any time ever for it to mean a lot to you, too. <3
Weight Loss Myths and Scams

Weight Loss Myths and Scams

*Rant warning*

I feel like I’ve been bombarded lately with questions about fad diets.  They’ve always been around, but they just don’t seem to go away.

It just seems shiny and new to try a “new” diet instead of sticking to the fundamental principles of a healthy one.

I’ve been noticing this more and more, with the incredible popularity of “keto” which is pretty much paleo circa 2012, and with new books sent to me for my feedback like The Sirtfood Diet (Find it here).  

I was able to read and review The Sirtfood Diet, a plan that claims to help you lose 7 pounds in 7 days, all with the power of what they call “Sirtfoods” which are essentially antioxidants, polyphenols, and other health supportive compounds.

What are the kinds of foods the Sirtfood diet wants you to eat?  Things like buckwheat, soy, strawberries, turmeric, red onions, kale, dates, garlic, and olive oil, among others.  Besides buckwheat (for some) and soy, I had a hard time figuring out how these foods were so lacking in typical healthy diets like the authors claim.

Most people who promote a paleo diet include ample amounts of these, and sometimes the dark chocolate and red wine pictured on the cover, as well-rounded parts of the diet.

Reservetrol, a healthful component the diet authors claim is often missing is available in fabulous multi-vitamin supplements like this one and in many foods like blueberries and cranberries, besides red wine.  

Polyphenols are also common across the range of plant based foods and are even available as powders to mix with smoothies (like this one). Most paleo authors value and promote the inclusion of lots of plant based foods in the diet.

Here’s the truth as I see it.  The reason you might lose 7 pounds in 7 days is because the first three days consist of 1000 calories of mostly green juice.  This is a common trend among fad diet plans- starve you during the first week while you’re motivated (while also telling you that you aren’t starving but are instead “detoxing” which is why you feel like you’re starving) and then working calories up to more maintainable levels so you continue to lose weight but think you are eating much more.  

You’re losing water that first week.  A little fat is lost too, but its almost scientifically impossible to lose 7 pounds of pure body fat in one week for the average person.  It requires a caloric deficit that not even 1000 calories a day can meet.

I have no issues with a diet that supports the inclusion of healthy ancient foods.  My mind has changed over the years with regard to gluten-free grains and other dietary components, so long as they are healthy FOR YOU.  

The key to lifelong weight loss is learning how to heed your internal cues.  Learning your body, understanding its needs, and feeding it nutrient dense food.  There doesn’t need to be a special superfood protocol.  There just needs to be balance.  

I’m never going to say its ok to eat mostly bacon and butter.  They’re nice as inclusions, but they don’t have the nutrient density that vegetables do.

I’m never going to be cool with women fasting.  Thankfully the Sirtfood diet and I agree on that one (though I still think 1000 calories a day for a woman is pushing it, even for 3 days).  If the choice is between you eating or not eating, I’m always going to say, eat.

But eat what makes your body feel good.  I know what that looks like for most people- vegetables, fruit, meat, fat.  Eat those things, in balance with the other things. with a focus on quality.  That’s all you really need.  And that’s what Weight Loss Unlocked is all about.  

If weight loss has become a struggle following that paradigm, then you should look into seeing a professional.  A good functional nutritionist in your area can help you get to the bottom of what is going on and provide a structured plan that will help you reach your goals, along with the accountability and monitoring to help you truly maintain that weight loss.

Please, oh please, don’t just go looking for another crash diet.  In the end, you’ll lose much more than some money and a few pounds.  

Find Your Perfect Makeup Shade

Find Your Perfect Makeup Shade

Ever tried natural makeup?

The worst part of finding ANY makeup is finding the right shade.  The worst part of natural makeup is probably a tie between finding the right shade and finding something that doesn’t come off with the slightest amount of sweat or touching. 

But I don’t worry about any of that anymore, because I’ve got my fav brand of makeup now.

Using natural minerals and all clean, organic, paleo ingredients, AnneMarie Skincare has come up with several gorgeous shades of makeup that are perfect for all skin types. 

The mineral foundations come as powders to be mixed with a special facial oil that smells OMG amazing.

You customize the shade and oil amount so that the coverage is right for you!

With oily skin, you can use just the powders alone or use the oil/powder combo and then do a bit of powder on top.  With dry skin, the oil mixed with the powder makes a liquid foundation that feels GREAT on skin and doesn’t look cakey and dry like so many mineral foundations.

But the question still remains.  How do you find your perfect shade?

Natural makeup is definitely an investment and AnneMarie’s makeup line is SO WORTH IT.

But to make sure you absolutely LOVE it, they’ve put together a wonderful sample kit so you can find the optimal shade for your skin. 

With the mineral multi-purpose foundation sample kit, you get sample bottles of each of the mineral foundation shades.  These shades can all be mixed and customized as well.

You can find the best match for you or even combine two different shades to make the right one for you.

You can even use these foundations as bronzers/contouring powders.

Now you can be fully confident that you have beautiful looking skin that isn’t being inundated with nasty chemicals, parabins, toxins, and other yucky stuff. 

The best part is that the sample kit comes with an awesome $10 coupon for you to use on your full size product once you find the right shade!

Ready to try AnneMarie’s wonderful foundations?  Get your sample kit here.

Reclaim Your Power Over Food

Reclaim Your Power Over Food

I see too many women in my life constantly battling with food and their weight.

Is that you?

If it is, I want to talk to you!

I want to talk to those of you who are constantly searching for the perfect diet, and constantly falling off the perfect diet.

Are you constantly swinging between “this time I’ve got it,” and “what the hell is wrong with me that I can’t stop eating peanut butter out of the jar?”

Are you always judging yourself based on what you ate that day or whether or not your skinny jeans fit?

Do you generally let food and weight concerns rule your world — the ups and downs of the diet-binge cycle dictating your “good” or “bad” days.

I’ve lived this stuff.

I’ve lived a life that revolved around the food I put in my mouth, the exact quantity and macronutrient profile.

I’ve lived a life of food obsession and poor self-esteem.

Isabel Foxen Duke, my friend and founder of Stop Fighting Food, calls this “feeling crazy around food.” 

Isabel is one of the most well-respected pros in the emotional eating world, contributing some very new ideas about how we can change our thought-patterns around food and weight, and finally break out of the exhausting diet-binge cycling behaviors that too many women find themselves trapped in — behaviors like, sneak-eating ice cream in the middle of the night; yo-yo dieting; emotional eating, and emotional eating’s painful cousin:binge-eating.

Many of my readers have worked with Isabel and her programs and have found her to be uniquely supportive and able to help them understand what is going on in their minds, and get back on the right track.

She’s got a wonderful, witty perspective that will keep you laughing and she drops truth bombs like nobodies business.

Isabel’s offering a free video training series this month, (Find it here) covering some of her most important concepts in changing women’s relationship with food on an emotional and psychological level.

If this is a topic that speaks to you, I highly recommend you sign up to get her free vids.

You don’t have to live your life clinging desperately to diets, only to end up with your fingers in a jar of Nutella at the end of the day.

You don’t have to live the rest of your life feeling bat-shit crazy around food.

Here’s the link again to sign up for this free training.

ifd.ontraport.com/t?orid=18682&opid=11

Paleo Hair Care at its Best:  The 5 Elements Series

Paleo Hair Care at its Best: The 5 Elements Series

Taking care of my beautiful hair is one of the great pleasures of my life.

But I’ll be honest, conventional shampoo has been my crutch for a long time.  

Dang it, I don’t like oily hair and I’ve never been able to go the requisite 4-8 weeks with it in order to “adjust”. 

So when paleo haircare companies offer to let me try their healthy new shampoos and conditioners, I always hesitate.

Do I want to subject myself to another 5 weeks of oily hair and scalp buildup?

But each time I’m intrigued.  Maybe someone has finally got it right.  Maybe I should give it a go.

Chemicals, toxins, carcinogens, parabins, allergens and whatever else in our typical shampoos and conditioners make me absolutely cringe. 

So when I was approached by Morocco Method to give their hair care products a try, I decided to do it.

Their whole line is so intriguing.  They pride themselves on truly gentle, non-toxic, non-allergenic and safe for everyone hair and body products—children included. Totally natural and holistic for maximum hair and scalp health.

They use ingredients common to Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Chinese Herbology in their 5 elements series (find it here), which is one of the things I tried.  Everything is plant, mineral, and herb based and works to put your scalp into optimal health.  

Here’s how it works:  you order all shampoos from the 5 elements series and begin using them as you would typically use your shampoo.  You wash the scalp once with the shampoo, rinse, and then wash again.  The first time is to remove scalp buildup, the second time is to help the holistic healing properties really absorb into the scalp.

Morrocco Method recommends rotating the shampoos- at minimum rotating at least 2 shampoos at all times to prevent scalp resistance.  However, it’s best to try all the shampoos first so you can see which work better for your particular scalp.

I tried the earth essence first which provides a rich mixture of essential oils, French clays and botanical proteins and promotes fuller, thicker hair.  Because, who doesn’t want some va-va VOOM??

What I liked about this one was that it gave my hair some texture and had a really great earthy scent, which I’m totally into.  My only criticism was that I didn’t feel like my hair was really CLEAN, but again, I’m transitioning from scalp stripping shampoo so…

Next I tried the fire essence, an apple cider vinegar based shampoo which increases blood flow to the scalp and flushes out debris, oil buildup and unhealthy bacteria.

I’m a HUGE fan of apple cider vinegar on the scalp and I knew I’d love this one.  I was right.  If my hair didn’t feel super clean before, it definitely felt clean after this one.  I felt like I was adjusting much better to the “no-poo” thing than I ever had before.

I subsequently rotated through the following shampoos.  I tried air, which has pine shale in it to gently nourish the scalp, remove dandruff and itchiness and counteract thinning and hair loss.  Then I tried sea essense, which contains all kinds of lovely sea things like algae, spirulina, kelp and marine proteins to nourish hair and scalp and correct dryness.  AND OMG LOVE. 

Ether had natural botanicals, herbs and marine proteins to dynamically energize hair and scalp.  Plus is has a super awesome name.  I loved the smell of this one also.

Then, of course, there were the conditioners:  Pearl Essence, Chi Instant, and Diamond Crystal Mist.  Really liked them, but my favorite was the Pearl Essence.

After several days of rotating the shampoos, my hair was still adjusting to the non-strippage of my scalp but I was REALLY impressed.  I’ll be continuing to try this for the forseeable future and feel absolutely comfortable recommending this to my no-poo friends as a wonderful alternative to your typical water/applecider vinegar routine. 

I hope you give this a try!  MY recommendation would be to get the travel size kit first so you can test all the different elements and see which rotation works best for you.

Find all of Morrocco Method’s amazing products and more of their mission, goals, and vision on their website here.  

How do you do the no shampoo thing?  Have you tried it?  Do you hate it?  Love it?  I want to hear from you!

One Genious Way to Eat More Vegetables

One Genious Way to Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are, quite literally, life.

Without enough of the vital nutrients and vitamins in these incredibly important plants, survival for humans in the modern world is very hard.  Thriving is even harder.

Yet the vast majority of the those in the developed world, and especially the United States, continue to eat less than the recommended daily amount. 

Not only that, but over the centuries, the varieties of fruits and vegetables we eat in the United States have become sanitized, reduced, and sometimes genetically modified.  

We grow far fewer varieties of vegetables and fruits than ever before in our history, and the fruits and veggies we have access to are often limited compared to other countries.

Additionally, the vegetables and fruits we eat are limited by our taste buds.

Americans tend to have a set variety of vegetables they like to eat and many don’t like or know how to try new things. But this limits us so much!

Smoothies are great and juicing has its benefits.  But what if there was a way to get highly concentrated vegetables in everything you eat- from salads to smoothies to baked goods?

What if we could eat our recommended 5 servings of veggies and fruit a day AND add additional veggies without having to actually force another whole vegetable down our throats?

And what if we could supplement our diets to have an incredible variety not possible in typical American diets, even healthy ones?

Enter Dr. Cowan’s Vegetable Powders.

These isn’t your typical green powder supplement.

Dr. Cowan carefully formulates several distinct, organic powders to help provide those concerned with eating a healthy diet highly nutritious, interesting, and delicious flavors.  

The powders are formulated not just for maximum nutrients but for taste and can be added to cooked foods and baked goods as well.  

I had the chance this week to sample several of the powders.  I was lucky enough to sample the Leek, winter vegetable, Burdock roots, and savory threefold blend.

In addition to having AMAZING flavor leeks are a rich source of many of the B vitamins, have more polyphenols (chemicals that are thought to prevent human disease) than most other commonly eaten garden vegetables, and are loaded with vitamin K.

Burdock root has many health properties like prevention of acne, reduction of allergies, and can even help with eczema!   The savory threefold blend was really cool!  Most people use only the roots of a certain vegetable or only the leaves.  

The threefold powder uses the whole plant because its recognized that the different parts of the plant have different health properties, and this way we get them all!  

All of the powders were delicious and unique and actually added flavor to my food.

I added them to my breakfast smoothies and even once put them in some gluten free brownies.  Whaaaat.

Dr. Cowan was so nice to share with me, I’m excited that we’re able to share these with you too!

Just use this link and place an order and receive 20% off your first purchase with the code PALEOFORWOMEN.  

20% is a HUGE discount off these organic, nutritional powerhouses.

So if you want to get more nutrition in a smaller package, check out everything they’ve got to offer and don’t forget to use your code ‘PALEOFORWOMEN’ for 20% off.

Find Dr. Cowan’s vegetable powders here!